Grab your doughnuts and high-powered weaponry, kiddies, because we’re going after the sixty billion double dollar man in the third omnibus collection of Trigun Maximum.
Taking place two years after the first Trigun manga, Trigun Maximum continues the journey of Vash the Stampede, otherwise known as The Humanoid Typhoon. The pistol-packing pacifist is the only thing that stands between the people of Gunsmoke and the deadliest being in the galaxy: his brother Knives. Volumes 7, 8, and 9 follow Vash’s struggles to keep Knives from destroying Gunsmoke while keeping his vow never to kill. Trigun Maximum also takes the time to explore the backstories of fan favorite characters such as the priest, Nicolas D. Wolfwood.
Having both read the original Trigun manga and watched the anime prior to picking up Trigun Maximum, this continuation didn’t disappoint. It still contains the fast-paced, over-exaggerated, and extremely destructive action that the series is known for . . . it’s just drawn better this time; however, while Maximum features cleaner artwork and great action, it still suffers from the same storytelling problem that I found while reading the first series: a rapidly changing timeline. Trigun has never been manga with much fluff, meaning it has always been a very direct manga with a clear end goal, but, unfortunately, there is very little indication of when and where the story is taking place. As a reader, this is frustrating, because I like to have an anchor point in a story if it’s going to insist on jumping back and forth between locations and characters mid-scene. This is especially apparent in the third omnibus due to its action-heavy plotline.
On a more positive note, Yasuhiro Nightow has always been one of my favorite manga creators, simply because of his inking style and how he handles action in a still narrative form. Compared to his early work on Trigun, Nightow ups his game and brings crisper lines, superior, heavy black placement, and traditional inking techniques into each panel of Trigun Maximum, which is something that I feel a lot of new manga lacks today. His word bubbles and lettering are also well spaced, allowing for natural dialogue pauses.
I know that there will be a lot of people who won’t pick up Trigun Maximum simply because manga isn’t their cup of tea, but if you’re looking for a non-traditional take on a gunslinger tale, I highly suggest giving it a read. While there are some pacing issues, Yasuhiro Nightow continues to deliver an exciting and insane sci-fi story with a western twist.